Grisolia: There may be no need for entrepreneurs to fear failure

"Remove the fear of failure and amazing things can happen."

While I can't tell you with certainty who uttered those 10 words, they've been burned into my mind since I heard them for the first time many years ago. And why not? For someone like me – a serial entrepreneur – they continue to unleash an endless choice of opportunities. They should be able to do the same for any entrepreneur – if applied as I'm about to suggest.

I know of two ways to permanently remove all fear of failure. The first is as old as time itself. It's neat, clean and simple. Avoid all risks. Dare nothing. Attempt nothing. Accomplish nothing.

Over the years, I've continued to put the finishing touches on a process that for me has become a more effective – thought perhaps unusual – way of eliminating my fear of failure. I'm not sure my way is the best way, or that it's quite ready to share with the world, but I share it with you here in the hope you find some value in the process – or can make it more effective for your own use.

What I know for sure is the process has worked – and continues to work – for me and for the clients who rely on me for my advice as their marketing and management consultant, as well as for the individuals I work with as their business coach. Check it out. Give it a try. You have absolutely nothing to lose, a great deal to gain.

The process begins with forever eliminating the word "no" as a possible answer to a basic question most people ask, consciously or unconsciously, when faced with a challenge: "Can I [or we] do it?" The traditional answers are either "yes" or "no." Eliminating "no" requires asking a somewhat different but closely related question: "How many ways can I [or we] accomplish the task?"

By asking that question, neither "yes" nor "no" are appropriate responses any longer. While "yes" didn't always assure a task would be doable, "no" virtually assured it could not be accomplished. Because you have eliminated "no" as a possible answer, the opportunities you will unleash by asking – and answering – that slightly different question become almost endless.

Next, follow that question with a second: "Of the possible alternatives I [or we] have identified, which is most likely to work best?" Again, by asking this question, you make it impossible for "no" to be an answer. Once you've selected your most promising alternative, tried it and documented its results – good or bad – consider also testing and documenting your remaining alternatives. They can often surprise you.

The third and final question you want to ask in what I refer to as my "eliminate-the-no process" is: "How many ways can I (or we) improve those results?"

By asking and responding to these three basic questions in sequence – 1. How many ways can I [or we] accomplish…? 2. Which works best…? and 3. How can I [or we] improve results…? – you essentially remove your fear failure because "no" with its virtual certainty of failure has been eliminated as a possible response to all three questions.

The process produces consistent results on three very key levels: 1. The possibility of "no" as an answer to your challenge – virtually any challenge you face – is gone forever; 2. Those "amazing things" mentioned earlier, the opportunities you can create, are all but unlimited, and; 3. Perhaps the most rewarding side-effect is after you've used the process for even a short time you begin to apply it almost unconsciously – and with surprising results – to your normal daily activities.

• An award-winning marketing professional and certified business communicator, Phil Grisolia is also the author of an enlightening new ebook "Shut Up And Listen! – 10 Easy Steps Guaranteed to Help You Communicate Better!" available for just 99 cents wherever ebooks are sold. Visit Phil's website at If you have a business-related question you would like Phil to answer, email it to, then watch for his answer in a future column.

Loading more

Digital Access

Digital Access
Access from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, weekend and Sunday packages.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Stay connected to us wherever you are! Get breaking news updates along with other area information sent to you as a text message to your wireless device.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Plan your weekend and catch up on the news with our newsletters.